WASHINGTON — With arms wide open, the Mets welcomed Robinson Cano back from the injured list Tuesday, hoping he can help them climb higher in their playoff push.
Cano missed a month with what the team called a torn left hamstring. Last week, Cano mentioned being told of a timetable of 6-12 weeks, but he made it back significantly faster than that — a development he said he knew was possible very early in his rehab process
“Day four, I was walking good. No discomfort,” Cano said. “One of the trainers said: ‘That’s a good sign that you’re walking normal.’ When it takes long to walk, it’s longer to heal. I love this game so much and it’s hard because you sit on the bench and watch the games.
“I don’t want to say that I’m surprised because I work really hard. I’m just happy to be back right now, able to come back earlier. I’m just happy to be back and be able to play the game.
Manager Mickey Callaway attributed the speedy return to a couple of factors.
“It really comes down to how does one heal? Do they do a great job with their rehab?” Callaway said. “He heals fast and did a great job with his.”
Cano hurt his leg Aug. 4 in Pittsburgh. After he played minor-league games Saturday and Monday, the Mets put the question to him: Are you ready? Cano said yes and participated in an on-field workout Tuesday afternoon at Nationals Park to satisfy any reservations, just in time for one last breath of the regular season.
Cano, 36, has weathered three IL stints because of leg injuries this season, also having to overcome a left quadriceps issue in May/June. But consider those bullets dodged considering the relatively small amounts of time missed.
And what if Cano continues to deal with leg trouble? He has four years and $96 million left on his contract after 2019, and players typically aren’t healthier as they get older.
“He’s got to control his running effort,” Callaway said.
Translation: Cano won’t always bust it down the line on routine groundouts, a long-present habit that Callaway earlier this season cited as a reason Cano was on the bench one game.
“He’s done that really well his whole career,” Callaway said. “He’s got to continue to do that.”
Cano won’t play every day, at least not right away, Callaway said. Joe Panik started at second Tuesday, with Cano available off the bench. Cano said he didn’t know if he would start Wednesday.
“I didn’t want to come back if I wasn’t 100 percent, but I feel 100 percent,” Cano said. “I’m just happy to be back. I don’t want to look like anything is negative. I’m just happy to be back and be able to help this team.”
Callaway said: “We just need to figure out what’s best for the team. I don’t think we have any certain plan to do anything at all.”
The Mets promoted Bryn Alderson, the son of former Mets GM Sandy Alderson, to pro scouting director. Alderson, 38, has been with the Mets since 2012 after beginning his baseball front-office career with the A’s in 2003.
Another internal promotee, Jeff Lebow, takes Alderson’s role as assistant director of pro scouting. Lebow, 30, has been with the Mets since 2011.
Triple-A Syracuse lost a wild play-in game, 14-13, to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Yankees) on Tuesday. . . . The Mets will re-evaluate Jed Lowrie (various leg injuries) on Wednesday after he played with Syracuse for a fourth consecutive day Tuesday. The Mets could send him to Brooklyn, activate him from the IL for the first time all year or have him continue his rehab in simulated games. . . . Short-season Class A Brooklyn, the only Mets affiliate to make the playoffs, will open the New York-Penn League semifinals against the Rays’ club (Hudson Valley) on Wednesday. They will play in Brooklyn on Thursday night.